Monday, 30 March 2015

'Our People, Our Place, Our Story' Integrated Unit

Throughout our integrated unit, the children were engaged in learning experiences in relation to:
  • What is my story?
  • What is our story? (Class Focus)
  • What is our story? (School Focus)
  • What is our story? (Community Focus)
  • What is our story? (Science Focus)
Classes explored these questions in many different ways.  For example: 
  • What is my story? - In one class the children brought in a collection of 'Fragments of Evidence'.  As the items in the bag were being shared, the children shared their story. In another class, the children created an artwork using koru to represent their family story. In several classes, the children learnt their mihi. Some classes presented these digitally.
  • What is our story?  The class focus was developed through the Block Classroom. As well as 'building' their learning environment, classes developed their learning culture. They developed a class treaty and set up their class blogs. As part of the school focus, each class explored our school vision statement and the six attributes of the College Street Kid.  As part of the community focus, one class completed an inquiry into the community organisation 'Just Zilch'.  For our science focus, classes explored and shared the stories of different landforms.  Some classes started by reading Maori myths and then explored the science behind the creation of the landform.

A school-wide focus for our integrated units is to explicitly teach children how to be successful researchers. Classes co-constructed their understanding of this process when they completed a whole class inquiry. For Phase Two of the 'Inquire' stage of our unit, the children asked their own research questions and followed through the research cycle. Some children worked individually, most children worked in small groups.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Time for New Learning and Rich Conversations

A significant part of our planning day in Week Seven was dedicated to time for new learning and rich conversations. To start with we discussed parts of the presentation that Mark Osborne had shared at the Learning @ Schools Roadshow in Palmerston North in 2013. Following this, we returned to the ‘Future-Oriented Learning and Teaching' Curriculum Update. As a group, we looked at the personalising learning section and discussed ways we are currently personalising learning.

Following this, we were asked to complete a research challenge. We had time to complete a mini-inquiry in relation to the big idea of 'Future Focused Education'. This was an opportunity to revisit the vision for learning and teaching that we had developed at the end of 2014 and time to explore some of these ideas further.  We developed an inquiry question and shared them with the group. We then had to plan, find, analyse and communicate our new learning. As part of the presentations, we were asked to include examples from our classrooms this year so that this could also be an opportunity for celebrating success.

The inquiry questions that we researched were:
  • What is the role of a teacher in a future focussed learning environment?
  • How do you develop agentic learners?
  • How has our understanding of developing ‘knowledge’ changed?
  • How can we use technology effectively in a future focussed learning environment?

Monday, 16 March 2015

Managing Self Literacy Focus

Our children are starting to have more choice in relation to their learning. In Pot of Gold this is currently achieved through Reading Choices and Priorities and in GRi11 this is currently achieved through a Managing Self Literacy Block. The children are taking responsibility for managing their learning by selecting which learning task to complete and when. They are responsible for prioritising their time on a daily basis so they can complete learning tasks before required deadlines.

"At the start of the week Mr Smith and Mrs Liddell tell us what the choices and the priorities are. These are displayed on the board. We start on our priorities first. We can do them in any order, just as long as we get them done. We have to write our priority or our choice and the date in our log. Then we show a buddy, who checks to see if we have done a good job, if we have they sign our log. I like being able to choose what I want to do."
(Year 5 child from Pot of Gold)